Part I of II
It’s funny how one event can change a lifetime’s worth of experiences you call reality—your foundation, the rock by which you compare and judge all things. On that special day, the one remarkable thing that changes your world draws a stark line dissimilating the difference, as if dating the before and unquestionably marking the after.
I can honestly tell you there is nothing in this world that is coincidental.
Almost daily since the after, I see something new, something unheard of, and it’s him, and he’s there in the media or splashed across newspaper headlines with another horrid deed. And, as if that’s not enough, he’s omnipresent, so he’s here with me in my room and begging me to give in, to just give him one try and he might just change. He tells me the love of one heart can change a damned one.
I breathe in these thoughts, and I slowly exhale them daily. My thoughts are adorned with his scent of burned sulfur and aged leather, and I can’t get enough of it as heat rises in my soul.
But I know the devil is a lie. One heart can’t change a damned one. But he still waits with a mischievous smile. The devil is patient, like the evening dusk waiting on the last little bit of sunlight to set behind the horizon. In the total darkness, where no light dares to enter, is when he does his best work.
He haunts me in those dark places. He waits in the back of my mind, picking away at my foundation, filling in my cracks with his lies and his needs. Repeating over and over that one heart can change a damned one.
My reality is always changing, trying desperately to hang on to the truths of past years. I refuse to believe in his lies, but there are some I cannot deny. His truths have become part of my foundation.
The first time the devil came to me, I was fifteen years old. I wanted it to be a dream because that’s how my foundation was built. If the devil were real, I believed he would be this grotesque creature of the night with talons for fingers and a tail he used to punish the wicked. Screams from hell would follow him around and make his presence known to all.
One night, I woke up in a panic. I didn’t look at my clock to check the time because I was too scared to move. Some people say “a witch is riding you” when you awaken on your back and you can’t move, but I knew there was no witch in the darkness. The only thing that stirred was my chest as I forced myself to breathe. I was under the impression that if I lay perfectly still and didn’t breathe, he wouldn’t see me. Hopefully he wouldn’t notice I even existed.
I was so wrong, and the first crack was formed in my foundation as my reality started falling apart.
Every time I closed my eyes, I could see him as if I were still in a dream. He was walking jovially down the center of the street, heading for my house without a care, yet with doggedness in his step. My house sat in the bottom of the street, right in the middle of the bend.
At the time, I didn’t want to believe he was coming, yet still I knew it to be true. I felt it. He was coming for me, and as if he sensed my terrified inner conversation, he laughed and continued to whistle a mysterious tune as he strolled toward my house.
I forced my eyes open, pleading for this to be only a bad dream. I had to believe I was being a silly, frightened little girl. Again I closed my eyes, and I saw him nodding in agreement with me, still happy, and now much closer than before. At any moment, he was going to be at my doorstep and knocking to come in, ready to whisk me away.
My heart raced. My chest felt like horses were stomping on it and at any moment my ribcage would explode open. I struggled to catch my breath; the last thing I wanted was to be unconscious and unable to protect myself. Yet how do you protect yourself against the devil?
Just as suddenly as he’d appeared, he wasn’t in my mind’s eye anymore. He was gone, yet I still felt his presence. My thoughts immediately raced toward the front door; I wondered if I’d overlooked him somehow. Still I could not find him, yet my heart refused to let this nightmare go as beads of sweat began to form, but yet my room was chilled more than the night air.
I opened my eyes, reminding myself that this was just a dream. No sooner had I whispered the words as if they were a prayer than my bedroom door opened, and he entered.
At fifteen, I had no true understanding of the word temptation. The word was just vocabulary I threw around to impress others, but when my eyes fell upon his face, temptation filled me. I was no longer a child. A thing in me was awakened and a bond was cemented.
The devil is a trickster. I wanted him to be a foul creature with scaly skin, a beast that lived on fear from the captured souls stirring beneath the surface and trying to escape the hell they were forced to endure.
No, that was not what I saw. The devil was a well-dressed man in a black tuxedo, his ensemble completed by a top hat and cane. His face was human-like and made of light. His features were indiscernible; they were whatever my mind wanted them to be. Looking at him was like focusing the white noise of a TV channel and trying to make it clearer. And then I remembered the devil was a fallen angel. That was it! He had the face of an angel.
Another crack in my foundation.
to be continued…
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